Following a string of what some Englishmen see as unprovoked, cynical, deplorable, and unforgivable acts of violence by Australian sportsmen on British people, rumours are spreading that the England cricket team intend to wear crash helmets throughout the entire Ashes series – and not just the batsmen.
Our entirely fictional sources can reveal that England will wear helmets in the field too; indeed we have recently obtained secret footage of Jimmy Anderson practicing his bowling in a lid.
A spokesman for the team, Anne Invention, told our Full Toss researcher “Andy Flower is extremely worried. Being a keen rugby fan, he’s seen how James Horwill, the Wallabies captain, has been hailed as a hero in Australia and, inexplicably, a victim, after appearing to stamp on a Lions player’s face in the first test and actually getting away with it. Who knows what will happen next”.
When put in the broader context of the David Warner incident, in which the Aussie batsman very accidently swung his fist whilst doing a Rocky Marciano impression, and unintentionally made contact with Joe Root (he had no idea whatsoever that Root’s face was in the vicinity at the time, and I dare you to prove with 100% certainty that he did), Flower fears a campaign of violence and intimidation against his team.
Mrs Invention told us “the prospect of our fielders spending hours in close proximity to two Australian sportsmen wielding heavy pieces of willow has really set the alarm bells ringing; anything could happen in the heat of battle, especially if Australia start losing”.
Although we understand that the Australian camp has tried to quell these fears – they argue, quite rightly, that none of their batsmen are likely to hang around long enough in the middle to represent a clear and present danger – the atmosphere in the England dressing room remains tense.
An unnamed England player might have told us: “we’re concerned the Aussie media might do everything they possibly can to encourage violence. After Fox Sports’ #justiceforhorwill campaign, in which they put the principle of double jeopardy above basic Judeo-Christian laws (such as ‘thou shalt try not to kick another human being in the head’) we’re anticipating a #justiceforwarner movement too. After all, the Warner incident wasn’t even caught on eighty seven television cameras. The Aussies are bound to overturn his ban and get him off the (left) hook if it helps them win a sporting contest, right?”
Even more alarming is the intriguing composition of new Australia coach Darren Lehmann’s backroom team. Rather than appointing a batting coach and a bowling coach, Lehmann is allegedly packing his staff with sports lawyers from New Zealand, and the bloke who got OJ Simpson off. Well, who needs talent and fair play when you can call in the suits?!
Although it could be argued that Andy Flower and Alastair Cook are worrying unnecessarily – we’re sure Steve Finn, Tim Bresnan and Kevin Pietersen would win any fist fight against the likes of Ed Cowan, Nathan Lyon and Chris Rodgers (as long as the latter takes his dentures out first and promises not to use his walking stick) – England pride themselves on their meticulous preparation and ability to foresee any eventuality.
As a result they’re currently sourcing sports equipment providers in order to secure the best deal on their protective gear. The Full Toss is tempted to recommend Decathlon, who sell an impressive range of cricket helmets, abdo guards, arms guards (as well as bats etc). However, given recent events involving James Horwill, perhaps they should contact the police and stock up on tactical goggles, knee pads, elbow pads, tactical vests and riot shields too.